Lee Schuette

Kittery Point, ME

Lee is a teacher and craftsman who has been working wood for 23 years. His emphasis is on teaching—he taught at the Wendell Castle Workshop and currently at the University of New Hampshire. He still occasionally makes furniture on commission.

"I make two kinds of furniture: Funnv and not-so-funny.

"I have worked in speculative vein before, but now I mostly make commissioned furniture for individual clients. I enjoy coming up with a solution that is based on the particular needs and wants of a person or family. I also like having contact with the people I make things for. That way the making of the work becomes as important as the finished product.

"How do I approach design? I hope for a bright idea. Sometimes that comes from something I see, a conversation or a dream, or from some part of my experience. My 'funny' designs arc connectcd more closely to my emotions. They come unsolicited, like when I'm driving my car or just waking up. For mc, capturing these ideas is the design process.

"Once I've had an idea, I start to think about the form of the piece—the volume and shape. Full-size models are very important. Computers are also beginning to be useful in three-dimensional design.

" 'Art furniture* is such a loaded expression. I prefer to think in terms of'artfully crcatcd' furniture, and I feel there's room in the world for all of the artful objects that we make. Take my 'Big City Desk,' for example. (See photo, page 47.) For most people this wouldn't be an appropriate desk. But it's not strictly art either. It functions visually first, but it also has a top for writing and drawers for storage."

Tanzu media ccnter 48 H. x 44 W.x 23 D. Mahogany, maple based on the traditional Japanese kimono cabinet, this design serves a more Western puqxjse. Schuette revised the scale of the cabinet to accommodate a stereo system as well as CDs and cassettes.


High-tech Shaker chair 46 H. x 17 W. x 20 D. Purpleheart, black aluminum, Delrin, tennis-racquet string

Faithful to Shaker originals in style and pro/xtrtions, this chair is a study in modern materials. It was designed in 1982 as part of a series of chairs for Sears Rwbuck.

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